The 12 Week Challenge wrapped back the first week of July. However I haven’t gotten around to writing my followup to the last two weeks challenges until now. That certainly isn’t because I didn’t do the challenge tasks. But more because the last two tasks are very practical things, that will be continued for the entire length of time I’m illustrating. Things like refining mailing lists, networking with the people who will hire you, and setting up various business practices.
While these things are very necessary to any potential career, exciting blog posts they are not. Combine this with preparations for the insanity that was this year’s 48 Hour Film Project (Next post will be the write up for this) and what you get is Warren working on these tasks in the background and not mentioning them.
While these tasks weren’t exactly the stuff of rock star blog posts, they are [b]very[/b] important. One needs to know what their process for bring in new clients is. What they wish to be their standard practice for kill fees etc etc. These are the exact kind of tasks I was looking for when I signed on for the challenge to begin with. Mainly because these are the “unpleasant” tasks to trying to run any
illustration business. Sitting around coming up with ideas and making them is the fun part. And why anyone would want to be an illustrator in the first place. But you don’t get to do that (without another source of income at least) without getting your work out there and having systems in place to hopefully make it a self sustaining practice. So that’s just what I worked on in Week’s 11-12.
Since that was a pretty short recap with little real content, I figured I’d share my thoughts on the Challenge as a whole.
I entered the 12 Week Challenge on a complete whim. Didn’t give it a second thought. Jonathan Woodward put out a call for participants and probably within five minutes I had my bio and sample image to him. It’s turned out to be a very engaging challenge and a lot of lessons were learned and benefits were reaped. Many of which I didn’t anticipate going into this thing.
As I said earlier my main reason for joining had to do with getting better about networking, business practices, and the like. There are large periods of time where I get wrapped up in large projects and as I do this it can mean I potentially drop off the radar a bit. And for someone like myself that may hardly be on the radar at all yet, this is pretty bad news indeed. I honestly need to get better about taking advantage of “face time” and reaching out more to potential clients. Particularly follow ups. And this was the exact kind of things that quite a few of the week’s challenges set out to address.
Another benefit of the Challenge was that I found out about so many great people by participating. An entire community was built up around performing these tasks together, and that itself was something I didn’t really foresee when I signed up. But I’ve been well pleased with the results of having so many new contacts, for getting feedback on things and to pose questions to. Many of them are very talented illustrators as well.
In this way I owe a lot of thanks to Jonathan and his wife Lea for having run this challenge in the first place. For something I didn’t give a thought to when I signed up, it’s proven to be an amazingly useful exercise and I’ve learned things and put practices into place that I’ll certainly carry with me into the future. Which means to me MISSION ACCOMPLISHED on the 12 Week Challenge.
With all this said, tomorrow starts a new Challenge for those of us who signed up for the follow up. It’s a shorter one this time. It’s called the 4 Week Portfolio Challenge. I signed up for this one for a couple of reasons. I felt one or two of the pieces I created during the original’s Challenge weren’t as strong as they could have been. So I want to correct that this time around. And also most of my outside work right now is writing and developing of things that won’t see the light of day for a while yet. As such it is a means for me to NOT get completely wrapped up in those things and disappear [b]again[/b]. More soon!